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Head of St Olave's resigns

(43 Posts)
Astronotus Fri 17-Nov-17 18:52:19

www.theguardian.com/education/2017/nov/17/head-of-grammar-school-that-forced-out-a-level-students-resigns

stmichaelbrokemymirror Fri 17-Nov-17 18:58:59

I wonder how many other schools were also doing this.

BattleaxeGalactica Fri 17-Nov-17 19:09:22

I think this was quite widespread.

DD was threatened with having to leave her sixth form (comp) when the AS results came in and she didn't meet the seemingly pulled out of a hat criteria no-one had notified her or us about. We managed to avert disaster but that's absolutely what it would have been. I'm delighted this horrendous policy is now dead in the water.

Astronotus Fri 17-Nov-17 19:20:07

I'm not sure dead in the water. Many schools are changing the wording of their admission policies to cover themselves.

BattleaxeGalactica Fri 17-Nov-17 21:01:02

If they are I'm not sure they will have a legal leg to stand on once a pupil has been admitted. The article is clear the practice is illegal and schools have been reminded of this.

Similar apparently takes place in the independent sector who have weaker candidates taking public exams in external centres so they are not registered in the school's results.

woodlands01 Fri 17-Nov-17 22:52:13

OK so the practice is 'illegal'. Most of the press here is regarding very high grades. I have 2 A-level students who have been encouraged to drop my subject because they will not achieve, because they are lazy and are not suited to the work load required. Parental pressure is such they are allowed to stay on my course. I have too many years experience to accept this - I will predict these students a 'U' and when questioned have reasons and evidence as to why. I am at top of pay scale so performance related pay does not affect me (try to take me off Upper Pay Scale if you dare).
My daughter is at a 6th form college - if they don't make the grade they are offered a 'less academic' course. Schools do not have this option due to the range of courses they can offer.
Very mixed feelings - I do not agree with the 'elite' attitude of only allowing those to continue who will obtain high grades but the issue in sixth forms is much wider spread than this.

Astronotus Fri 17-Nov-17 23:48:33

Woodlands 01. If your 2 A level students are lazy and predicted Us then why allow them to start the A level at all? Entry into 6th form is when schools can choose the candidates legally. Moving on students can happen in any school year. I know of a child tutored to get into a superselective grammar who was told in year 9 another, less academic school, would be more suitable for them.

woodlands01 Sat 18-Nov-17 08:14:03

Because they achieved at GCSE - well - and school policy is to take as many students into the 6th form as possible. In an over subscribed school the only way a school can increase it's funding is through increasing 6th form.

FanDabbyFloozy Sat 18-Nov-17 08:39:23

Similar apparently takes place in the independent sector who have weaker candidates taking public exams in external centres so they are not registered in the school's results.
Why aren't parents screaming from the rooftops if this is true? I would be furious if my child wasn't allowed to sit exams in a familiar place just to save the school's reputation.
Name and shame, I say..

BlueBelle123 Sat 18-Nov-17 09:18:06

Woodlands01 surely those U's will have a far bigger impact on those student's lives (cv's) then on your school's league tables.

Also if school's can no longer ask pupils to leave at the end of year 12 then I would think that most school, in the state sector will have a similar amount of such students and so as regards league tables it will even out.

Astronotus Sat 18-Nov-17 16:38:40

If DofE have told schools they can only exclude "in response to a behavioural issue" then every child not hitting As in their work will be terrified their school will use a former indiscretion against them.

To bring the thread back to the St Olave's resignation. What is it with the two superselective grammars in Bromley? They seem unable to keep headteachers. The other one, a girls' school, is on its third head in five years, with the middle head lasting only 15 months and leaving due to an incident, or as they say in official governor speak "personal reasons". The DofE needs to look closer at the governance of these schools. Maintaining their places at the top of league tables should not be done at the expense of the students, academically or pastorally.

BubblesBuddy Sat 18-Nov-17 18:31:38

You cannot use a former misdemeanour against a child. Such indiscretions must be punished at the time and it is only if a further serious misdemeanour happens, can behaviour history be looked at. A minor indiscretion is not punishable by permanent exclusion it must be looked at in terms of the school’s behaviour policy which must follow the law. So forgetting your PE kit last Wednesday isn’t bad enough.

Poor academic performance has never been a reason to exclude in the last 25 years. It is not legal to do so. There is no change in the law but St Olaves has been acting illegally and the Governors will have paid the Head to go. They probably should go too if they knew what he was doing. It’s possible they didn’t. The whole thing is a disgrace.

Schools should not over recruit unsuitable candidates for 6th form by having low entry qualifications. The money the school makes does pay woidlands top of the grade salary of course and then the children get predicted a U. This seems hugely unacceptable to me. Obviously the teachers in woodlands school all make money out of the policy so not much incentive to stop.

Astronotus Sun 19-Nov-17 22:50:40

Sorry but there is no way the governors did not know this was happening. They would have seen the numbers, the names, the progress reports. When will the DofE step in? When something even more serious happens? The DofE has no teeth. Here is a good opportunity to go into the school and throw out all the governors. It would be a good example to all other schools.

BubblesBuddy Mon 20-Nov-17 01:00:03

Governors are not allowed to see the names of individual children. They do not see progress reports of individual children. They see info which is strategic and about meeting targets. The operational methods used to meet the targets are down to the Head.

Governors are given on roll numbers but the details would not be scrutinised by the Governors unless they had a policy to remove pupils in the way they were. As the Head has gone it may suggest he did this on his own and it was not policy. Governors are not usually getting this level of detail about children leaving and it’s an operational matter and not strategic so unless they directed the Head, it’s possibly not down to the Governors.

Ofsted could visit the school and inspect governance and they should. The D of E are unlikely to step in unless a report is damning as they are not an inspection regime and they cannot remove
Governors without evidence (even if you think rumour and speculation are good enough, Astro!)

MrsPatmore Mon 20-Nov-17 11:51:56

The Head and Vice Head of Governors resigned I think before the news broke. There is now a new Head of Governors and hopefully there'll be a new Headteacher in the Spring.

Astronotus Mon 20-Nov-17 16:03:17

BubblesBuddy. I would not call the resignation of the Headteacher, Chair and Vice chair of Governors, a threatened judicial review and major coverage in all the serious newpapers, rumour and speculation. I quote from the Governance Handbook for schools "However, since the board is responsible in law for the school(s), it may need to intervene in operational matters if a circumstance arises where, because of the actions or inactions of executive leaders, the school may be in breach of a duty." I think that covers chucking out sixth formers, esp in such high numbers. The DofE definitely do go into schools if they are concerned, if only to stop issues escalating. At the other superselective I mentioned earlier the DofE put in a new governor in July 2015 to look at finances and this is noted in their governors' meeting mins. The EFA were also involved. If there are worries about a school the authorities will go in quietly. They were a little slow on St Olave's though.

BubblesBuddy Mon 20-Nov-17 16:15:17

Astro - I wasn’t aware the Chair and Vice Chair has resigned and neither did you post that info so thanks to Mrs P for bringing me up to date.

They didn’t do anything about St Olaves until the parents threatened legal action. The school were acting illegally but will now be expected to stop. I have no doubt they will. What else do you expect to happen now? A judicial review of what exactly now the main people have left?

noblegiraffe Mon 20-Nov-17 16:43:52

Bubbles in my school, entry criteria are set by the head of sixth form, not subject experts - the maths department was overruled when it came to setting entry requirements to maths A-level.

At the same time, it is impossible to tell beforehand from GCSE results, even if the student meets the entry requirements, who will get a U and who will not, because it depends on how hard they work. I've seen kids with lower grades at GCSE go on to get good grades at A-level, and a kid with an A* at GCSE get a U at AS. You cannot refuse entry to an A-level course if they meet the entry requirements, and you cannot include 'we won't let you on if you look like a slacker' as an entry requirement.

Thus, there will always be students getting Us at AS, regardless of how highly their teachers are paid, because at the end of the day it's not the teacher sitting the exam.

NancyJoan Mon 20-Nov-17 16:48:30

Why aren't parents screaming from the rooftops if this is true? I would be furious if my child wasn't allowed to sit exams in a familiar place just to save the school's reputation.

Because it's embarrassing, I'd guess. Publicly speaking out about your child being less able that her peers is not something that regularly happens, esp among the indy school parents I know. Better to go along with it quietly, and then hope they get into university so we can all pretend this unpleasantness ever happened.

FanDabbyFloozy Mon 20-Nov-17 17:01:35

@NancyJoan - I suspect your synopsis is correct.

I wonder why the colleges hosting these children actually allow them to sit there? Is there a legal reason or is it because the children actually help their stats bizarrely?

NancyJoan Mon 20-Nov-17 17:03:27

Money?

Astronotus Mon 20-Nov-17 17:37:31

Bubbles - I thought you were aware of the sequence of events.. Timeline: The Guardian broke the story 29 August. By 31 August the StO parents' lawyers had issued a judicial review. 5 Sept it was reported that the Governing Body was unaware that the Head and Bursar were the sole shareholders of a company which had been set up to hold the school's trademark. By 12 Sept both Chair and V-chair of governors had resigned. 17 Nov headteacher resigns and an ex-governor is quoted "I hope the inquiry does continue, not just to uncover the exclusions of pupils going from year 12 to year 13 but to uncover other issues that may have been going on at the school that I and other people were concerned about.”
For the students and parents' sake I very much hope all the authorities (DofE, EFA, Ofsted) are currently taking a close look at everything.

BubblesBuddy Mon 20-Nov-17 20:20:59

Astro. I hope so too but we do not know if the whole GB agreed this policy or received detailed reports of what pupils were removed and why. As they were not excluded in the true sense of the legal requirement, the pupils may just have slipped out and been a number in a report. Eg: the Head’s Report says, in the Summer Term, there are 150 students in y12 and then in his next report, in the Autumn term, the number on roll for y13 is given as 147. Would anyone notice? That is possibly all that was ever said about it to the GB.

I fully accept, needmoresleeep, that recruitment is not an exact science and that SLT have the final decision. It really depends on what policies a school wishes to follow about funding and recruitment. However many schools do set minimum GCSE grades for 6th form participation and, once the school has made a decision to accept the child, poor academic performance is not a reason to exclude a pupil in Y12. I think we all know that and agree with it. St Olaves didn’t and will have to change.

Astronotus Mon 20-Nov-17 20:42:10

Bubbles, eh, .. just slipped out .. I don't think so. Quote from Guardian 29 August "The process this year began on the last day of term in July when letters were handed to all year 12 students. According to parents, one set were told they had secured the required grades and their place in year 13 was confirmed; a second set were put on warning following unsatisfactory results for internal exams, until the outcome of their AS levels in August; a third set were told their grades in their internal exams were not good enough and that they were out." 16 students in all, I believe, so very noticeable. Bubbles, sorry - but you really need to read the quality newspapers and research your facts.

tiggytape Tue 21-Nov-17 14:28:50

I'm not sure dead in the water. Many schools are changing the wording of their admission policies to cover themselves.
Admission policies is the key phrase there.

Admissions policies cover the transition from Year 11 to Year 12.
The transition from Year 12 to Year 13 is not subject to "admissions" criteria as this case has made clear and as such grades cannot be used to weed out students at this stage.
So if a sixth form wants to demand entry criteria of 7A* at GCSE (or 7 Grade 8's as it will soon become) then so be it. They will have trouble filling their classes and getting enough funding unless they are so desirable that people apply from all over - but they are perfectly entitled to set admissions criteria that they believe will lead to successful outcomes at A Level.
What they can't do is tell dozens of students who met the criteria to get into Year 12 that they cannot continue to Year 13. They set the criteria they want in Year 12 and then they are stuck with those pupils come what may. That is what has been made clear as a result of this case.

If your 2 A level students are lazy and predicted Us then why allow them to start the A level at all?

Because state schools cannot set entry criteria based on behaviour, attitude, previous attendance or any criteria apart from measurable academic performance that is applied equally to all students (although they are allowed to fill up spaces with pupils in their own Year 11 who meet the criteria before offering to external candidatures if they wish). Interviews are not allowed. Past school reports are not taken into account etc.

This school tried to block a badly behaved pupil with the right grades from entry to their 6th form and were told very firmly that they could not do that.
And, as a result of the more recent case, it has been made clear to schools that they cannot put in place performance requirements to move from Year 12 to Year 13 as it would amount to an exclusion on academic grounds which is also not allowed.

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